By offering pilots essential flight information in a digital format, Electronic Flight Bags make life considerably easier for airlines.
Vital data including aircraft performance, fuel information, passenger numbers and route optimisation is delivered to the crew via the EFB using WiFi and GSM connections from the ground, facilitating the automation of certain processes. Compared with previous paper-based methods, the EFB thus offers savings in terms of time, efficiency and costs. It is also a greener solution, economising up to the equivalent of one tree’s worth of paper every flight.
A tailored solution
“The Thales TopWings solution is based on a class II EFB,” explains Antoine Labruyere, Head of TopWings Product Line, Marketing and Sales, “a category of EFB that allows data to be received and transmitted during flight.” As part of TopWings, Thales conducts a complete analysis of each airline’s needs to deliver customised applications and a solution that efficiently links the EFB to existing IT systems, ensuring real-time connections with the ground. The aircraft is thus transformed into an information node, allowing everyone in the airline to have real-time access throughout the flight’s progress and providing the right information to the right person at the right time in order to optimize operating costs.
“As an example, this transparency of information can allow ground teams to prepare for any technical or repair work before the plane even lands,” adds Antoine Labruyere. Pilots, meanwhile, can also have full access to constantly-updated weather, route and airport maps, giving them full situational awareness.
Thales has got his first contract for TopWings with one European airline and is currently working with this airline to define a tailored solution integrating hardware, software and enabling exchange of information in real time between the aircraft and ground operations. It includes various applications designed to increase the efficiency of airline operations while reducing pilot workload and optimising costs. First hardware installation is scheduled in March with evaluation phase starting in July 2011.
To meet the different needs of the operator, the Thales TopWings offering covers the integration of the best suitable hardware and software solutions to satisfy the various airline requirements.
While TopWings currently focuses on airline operations, the solution could eventually be extended to optimise the customer experience. Information about customer preferences could be linked to the seating plan, for example, allowing cabin crews to deliver vegetarian meals or favourite newspapers to customers without having to ask them.” Thales is also planning to develop its own applications for TopWings,” notes Antoine Labruyere, “thus ensuring even more flexibility and customisability in the future.”
“The aircraft is transformed into an information node ”